Chemical engineer

Chemical engineer

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Chemical engineer'
Start a new discussion about 'Chemical engineer'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
In the field of engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

, a chemical engineer is the profession in which one works principally in the chemical industry
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

 to convert basic raw materials into a variety of products, and deals with the design and operation of plants and equipment to perform such work. In general, a chemical engineer is one who applies and uses principles of chemical engineering
Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with physical science , and life sciences with mathematics and economics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms...

 in any of its various practical applications; these often include 1) design, manufacture, and operation of plants and machinery in industrial chemical and related processes ("chemical process engineers"); 2) development of new or adapted substances for products ranging from foods and beverages to cosmetics to cleaners to pharmaceutical ingredients, among many other products ("chemical product engineers"); and 3) development of new technologies such as fuel cells, hydrogen power and nanotechnology
Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres...

, as well as working in fields wholly or partially derived from Chemical Engineering such as materials science
Materials science
Materials science is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter to various areas of science and engineering. This scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. It incorporates...

, polymer engineering
Polymer engineering
Polymer engineering is generally an engineering field that designs, analyses, and/or modifies polymer materials. Polymer engineering covers aspects of petrochemical industry, polymerization, structure and characterization of polymers, properties of polymers, compounding and processing of polymers...

, and biomedical engineering
Biomedical engineering
Biomedical Engineering is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology. This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine: It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to improve...

.

History


The term appeared in print in 1839, though from the context it suggests a person with mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

 knowledge working in the chemical industry
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

.
In 1880, George E. Davis
George E. Davis
George Edward Davis is regarded as the founding father of the discipline of Chemical Engineering.Davis was born at Eton on 27 July 1850, the eldest son of George Davis, a bookseller. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a local bookbinder but he abandoned this trade after two years to...

 wrote in a letter to Chemical News 'A Chemical Engineer is a person who possesses chemical and mechanical knowledge, and who applies that knowledge to the utilisation, on a manufacturing scale, of chemical action.' He proposed the name Society of Chemical Engineers, for what was in fact constituted as the Society of Chemical Industry
Society of Chemical Industry
The Society of Chemical Industry is a learned society set up in 1881 "to further the application of chemistry and related sciences for the public benefit". Its purpose is "Promoting the commercial application of science for the benefit of society". Its first president was Henry Enfield Roscoe and...

. At the first General Meeting of the Society in 1882, some 15 of the 300 members described themselves as chemical engineers, but the Society's formation of a Chemical Engineering Group in 1918 attracted about 400 members.

In 1905 a publication called The Chemical Engineer was founded in the USA, and in 1908 the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
American Institute of Chemical Engineers
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers is a professional organization for chemical engineers.AIChE was established in 1908 with the purpose of establishing chemical engineers as a profession independent from chemists and mechanical engineers.As of 2010, AIChE had over 40,000 members,...

 was established.

In 1924 the Institution of Chemical Engineers
Institution of Chemical Engineers
The Institution of Chemical Engineers is a global professional engineering institution with over 33,000 members in over 120 countries worldwide, founded in 1922, and awarded a Royal Charter in 1957.-Structure:...

 adopted the following definition 'A chemical engineer is a professional man experienced in the design, construction and operation of plant and works in which matter undergoes a change of state and composition.' (The first female member joined in 1942.)

As can be seen from the later definition, the occupation is not limited to the chemical industry
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

, but more generally the process industries, or other situations in which complex physical and/or chemical processes are to be managed.

In 1951 the President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers said in his Presidential Address "I believe most of us would be willing to regard Edward Charles Howard
Edward Charles Howard
Edward Charles Howard FRS the youngest son of Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, was a British chemist who has been described as the first chemical engineer of any eminence....

 (1774-1816) as the first chemical engineer of any eminence". Others have suggested Johann Rudolf Glauber
Johann Rudolf Glauber
Johann Rudolf Glauber was a German-Dutch alchemist and chemist. Some historians of science have described him as one of the first chemical engineers...

 (1604–1670) for his development of processes for the manufacture of the major industrial acids.

Overview


Historically, the chemical engineer has been primarily concerned with process engineering
Process engineering
Process engineering focuses on the design, operation, control, and optimization of chemical, physical, and biological processes through the aid of systematic computer-based methods...

. The modern discipline of chemical engineering, however, encompasses much more than just process engineering. Chemical engineers are now engaged in the development and production of a diverse range of products, as well as in commodity and specialty chemicals. These products include high performance materials needed for aerospace
Aerospace
Aerospace comprises the atmosphere of Earth and surrounding space. Typically the term is used to refer to the industry that researches, designs, manufactures, operates, and maintains vehicles moving through air and space...

, automotive
Automotive engineering
Modern automotive engineering, along with aerospace engineering and marine engineering, is a branch of vehicle engineering, incorporating elements of mechanical, electrical, electronic, software and safety engineering as applied to the design, manufacture and operation of motorcycles, automobiles,...

, biomedical
Biomedical engineering
Biomedical Engineering is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology. This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine: It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to improve...

, electronic
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

, environmental
Environmental engineering
Environmental engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to improve the natural environment , to provide healthy water, air, and land for human habitation and for other organisms, and to remediate polluted sites...

 and military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 applications. Examples include ultra-strong fibers, fabrics, adhesives and composites for vehicles, bio-compatible materials
Biocompatibility
Biocompatibility is related to the behavior of biomaterials in various contexts. The term may refer to specific properties of a material without specifying where or how the material is used , or to more empirical clinical success of a whole device in...

 for implants and prosthetics, gel
Gel
A gel is a solid, jelly-like material that can have properties ranging from soft and weak to hard and tough. Gels are defined as a substantially dilute cross-linked system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state...

s for medical applications, pharmaceuticals, and films with special dielectric, optical or spectroscopic
Spectroscopy
Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and radiated energy. Historically, spectroscopy originated through the study of visible light dispersed according to its wavelength, e.g., by a prism. Later the concept was expanded greatly to comprise any interaction with radiative...

 properties for opto-electronic devices. Additionally, chemical engineering is often intertwined with biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and biomedical engineering
Biomedical engineering
Biomedical Engineering is the application of engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology. This field seeks to close the gap between engineering and medicine: It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to improve...

. Many chemical engineers work on biological projects such as understanding biopolymers (proteins) and mapping the human genome
Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project is an international scientific research project with a primary goal of determining the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA, and of identifying and mapping the approximately 20,000–25,000 genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional...

.

Employment and Salaries


In the United States of America, the Department of Labor
United States Department of Labor
The United States Department of Labor is a Cabinet department of the United States government responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics. Many U.S. states also have such departments. The...

 estimated in 2008 the number of chemical engineers to be 31,000. According to a 2011 salary survey by the American Institution of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the median annual salary for a chemical engineer was approximately $110,000. In one salary survey, chemical engineering was found to be highest-paying degree for first employment of college graduates.Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with physical science , and life sciences with mathematics and economics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms...

 has been successively ranked in the Top 2 places in the Most Lucrative Degrees Survey by CNN Money
CNNMoney.com
CNNMoney.com is the world's largest business website. The site is the online home of Fortune and Money, and serves as CNN.com's exclusive business site. The site, edited by Chris Peacock, together with the three titles, is part of the Fortune|Money Group, and attracts more than 10.8 million unique...

 in the United States of America. In the UK, the Institution of Chemical Engineers
Institution of Chemical Engineers
The Institution of Chemical Engineers is a global professional engineering institution with over 33,000 members in over 120 countries worldwide, founded in 1922, and awarded a Royal Charter in 1957.-Structure:...

 2006 Salary Survey reported an average salary of approximately £53,000, with a starting salary for a graduate averaging £24,000. Chemical engineering is a male-dominated field: as of 2009, only 17.1% of professional chemical engineers are women. However, that trend is expected to shift as the number of female students in the field continues to increase.

See also


  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
    American Institute of Chemical Engineers
    The American Institute of Chemical Engineers is a professional organization for chemical engineers.AIChE was established in 1908 with the purpose of establishing chemical engineers as a profession independent from chemists and mechanical engineers.As of 2010, AIChE had over 40,000 members,...

     (AIChE)
  • Distillation
    Distillation
    Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

  • Fluid dynamics
    Fluid dynamics
    In physics, fluid dynamics is a sub-discipline of fluid mechanics that deals with fluid flow—the natural science of fluids in motion. It has several subdisciplines itself, including aerodynamics and hydrodynamics...

  • Heat transfer
    Heat transfer
    Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the exchange of thermal energy from one physical system to another. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as heat conduction, convection, thermal radiation, and phase-change transfer...

  • History of chemical engineering
    History of chemical engineering
    Chemical engineering as a discipline is a little over one hundred years old. It grew out of mechanical engineering in the last part of the 19th century, because of a need for chemical processors. Before the Industrial Revolution , industrial chemicals were mainly produced through batch processing. ...

  • Institution of Chemical Engineers
    Institution of Chemical Engineers
    The Institution of Chemical Engineers is a global professional engineering institution with over 33,000 members in over 120 countries worldwide, founded in 1922, and awarded a Royal Charter in 1957.-Structure:...

     (IChemE)
  • List of chemical engineering societies
  • List of chemical engineers
  • Mass transfer
    Mass transfer
    Mass transfer is the net movement of mass from one location, usually meaning a stream, phase, fraction or component, to another. Mass transfer occurs in many processes, such as absorption, evaporation, adsorption, drying, precipitation, membrane filtration, and distillation. Mass transfer is used...

  • Process control
    Process control
    Process control is a statistics and engineering discipline that deals with architectures, mechanisms and algorithms for maintaining the output of a specific process within a desired range...

  • Process design (chemical engineering)
  • Process engineering
    Process engineering
    Process engineering focuses on the design, operation, control, and optimization of chemical, physical, and biological processes through the aid of systematic computer-based methods...

  • Process miniaturization
    Process miniaturization
    - Chemical Process Miniaturization :Chemical process miniaturization refers to a philosophical concept within the discipline of process design that challenges the notion of "economy of scale" or "bigger is better". In this context, process design refers to the discipline taught primarily to...

  • Unit operations
  • Chemfluence
    Chemfluence
    Chemfluence, is a national level technical symposium organized annually by the Department of Chemical Engineering, A.C.Tech, Anna University every year since 1996....

  • WikiProject: Chemical and Bio Engineering

External links